Alpha, New beginning, Andy Warhol and Avatar

The last blog in the vowel series. I have deliberately left A for last to mark a new beginning. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega is the last one. Saying “Alpha and Omega” is very similar to a saying “from A to Z” in English or in other words: Beginning and the End.

The origin of letter A is very interesting, best told through a series of pictures.

Egyptian Hieroglyph

Proto-Semitic Ox head

Phoenician Aleph

Then turn the latter one for 95 degrees clockwise and you have the Greek Alpha, and couple of thousand years later Roman A was introduced.

Alpha describes the first or most significant occurrence of something. The only thing that comes to my mind at the moment is Alpha-male – an individual with the highest rank in the social animals’ community.

Let’s stay with Greek letters and introduce another letter, Beta. Beta is the second letter after alpha. Alpha-Beta form Alphabet. Word Alphabet actually originates from Phoenician alphabet, where Aleph (Alpha) means an Ox, and Beth (Beta) means House. In western world we do not pay too much attention to bare essentials like roof above our heads and steed that we use to cultivate our land.

Aleph (=Ox); Beth (=House)

Some other meanings/uses of A:

One form of Vitamin A is called retinol. Name originates from eye Retina. It plays a big role in seeing in low light conditions as well as in colour vision.  A+ and A- are human blood types.

I was mentioning Egyptian, Semitic, Phoenician and Greek alphabets.  In order not to move too far from history I need to mention also some Latin here. A stands for Annum (=Year). One expression that you might be familiar with is Anno Domini (=Year of the Lord), or its abbreviation A.D.

A is also a musical note, the sixth solfeggio note. During primary school I sang in a choir. Every rehearsal started with Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. A equals to La. Nowadays I am not allowed to even come close to our Karaoke machine. From time to time I can spoil the evening with “my interpretations” of Frank Sinatra’s My way or Billy Joel’s Piano man, but that’s about it.

Have your ever heard of A, A novel by Andy Warhol? There is a character in the novel, named Taxine. How does she fit into today’s blog? Well, the A, A novel was the beginning of the end of Edith Minturn “Edie” Sedgwick and Andy Warhol’s relationship.

A within a circle is also a well-recognized symbol of anarchy or Anarchism.

Let me close today’s flow of thoughts with the last A, Avatar. Avatar is a computer user’s presentation in a 3D form, used in computer games or 2D form icon (picture) used on Internet forums and other online forms of communication. With a little bit of imagination you can see me in the Avatar above.

About Sebastjan Brezovec

I see blogging as a welcome distraction from daily routine. It gives me freedom to express myself as well as motivation for some research before publishing the content.
This entry was posted in Vowels and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s